8 Childhood Riddles That Baffled You As A Kid (And Possibly As An Adult)

Riddles aren't everyone's cup of tea — some people enjoy the challenge they provide, while others (me) get far too invested in figuring out the answer (me) and develop an enraged eye twitch when they can't. (Me. It's me. I am 100 percent that kind of person.) For people who fall into the latter category, encountering riddles from your childhood as an adult can be positively infuriating. You'd think that years of accumulating education and experience would make the answers easier to figure out, but nope! In my experience, many riddles remain just as enigmatic when you're 20 years old as they were when you were ten, but you don't even have the excuse of a still-developing brain to hide behind.

On the other hand, there's something about riddles that draws people in. Although little scientific research has been done on the subject, cultures around the world have been coming up with brain teasers for thousands of years, and renowned authors like J.R.R. Tolkein and Lewis Carroll were famous for enjoying them so much they included riddles in their novels. Maybe the appeal lies in the chance to prove your cleverness, or maybe it comes from the chance to exercise parts of your brain that aren't used in everyday life once you're out of school. Either way, however, riddles can be irresistible.

And so, without further ado, let's look at eight riddles from your childhood that stumped everyone at first. The answers can be found at the bottom of the post, but you might not need them — unless you're just as baffled the second time around.

1. Light As Air


Riddle: What's as light as air but can only be held for a short time?

2. A Girl In The Dark


Riddle: A girl is sitting in a house at night that has no lights on at all. There is no lamp, no candle, nothing. Yet she is reading. How?

3. What You Leave Behind


Riddle: The more of them you take, the more you leave behind. What are they?

4. The Largest Island In The World


Riddle: What was the largest island in the world before Australia was discovered?

5. The Murder Mystery


Riddle: As described by Propensity for Curiosity:

Two girls ate dinner together. They both ordered iced tea. One girl drank them very fast and finished five [glasses] in the time it took the other to drink just one.

The girl who drank one died while the other survived. All the drinks were poisoned.

How did the girl who drank the most survive?

6. Days Of The Week


Riddle: Name four days of the week that start with the letter "T."

7. The Perpetual Question


Riddle: What always asks but never answers?

8. What Always Runs


Riddle: What always runs but never walks, often murmurs, never talks, has a bed but never sleeps, has a mouth but never eats?

If you're stumped, the answers are below.


1. Your breath.

2. She's reading Braille.

3. Footprints.

4. Australia; it was still the largest island before anyone knew about it.

5. The ice was poisoned; as they melted, the cubes released the poison. The girl who drank quickly didn't allow time for the ice to melt, so she avoided the poison.

6. Tuesday, Thursday, today, and tomorrow.

7. An owl.

8. A river.

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